From the desk of: HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET
NEW YORK METS: If These Players Do Not Get Something Done, It Won't Get Done. The GM Is More Concerned With Next Year.
Finishing with an 82-79 record, the 1973 Mets clawed and fought their way back into contention to eventually win the N.L. Eastern Division title by a mere 1.5 game margin over the St. Louis Cardinals. That team also went on to dismantle the Big Red Machine in the National League Championship Series, but fell one game short in the World Series against the dynastic Swingin' A's. Aside from Game Seven in Oakland, we're talking about great memories right? Those were good times if you were around back then. No? I mean, what's not to appreciate about a National League champion?
But readers, I tell you now, I do not aspire to be the 1973 Mets. Don't get me wrong, winning pennants, or at a minimum being part of the post-season is why they play the game, and why we root for them. But for these Mets, I aspire for them to be something far greater than just an eighty-two win team. Be generous with wins if you like. For the moment however, there is much to address to even get back to that level after falling below .500 for the first time this season.
The Mets' problems have become far too numerous for Sandy Alderson to address them all at the trade deadline. The Mets now need one, and perhaps two starting pitchers. Their need for a right-handed slugger to balance out their lefty-heavy line-up, also still continues to have a direct effect on Lucas Duda's production because he has no protection behind him. And, his struggles may even cost Duda a trip to Buffalo to make room for Matt Harvey. Then of course, the bullpen needs a near-complete renovation again. Like clock-work, they imploded Monday night in a confounding extra-inning loss. So that's too many areas needing attention with too few chips the organization is willing to part with in order to get anything of significance done.
If there is something more dramatic on the horizon involving Lucas Duda, Nieuwenhuis, or other current household names, I'd be astonished. If the Mets traded off a couple of useful players, like Scott Hairston, for something slightly more than a fair return, I'd be pleased. And if the Mets sit tight at the deadline, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised. But there's a large portion of Mets fans who aren't interested in that kind of talk. They want their General Manager to make a concerted effort towards gaining one of two Wild Cards right now.
Like a General Manager, let us take stock of the situation. The Phillies and Marlins have woefully underachieved this season, while the Braves and Nationals are pulling away. So where does that leave the Mets? The answer is two games under .500 after losing to the Nationals Monday night. They now trail the Nats by 9.5 games in the standings, and are five games out of a Wild Card spot. Less than seventy games remain in the regular season.
The Mets have now lost all but one game since returning from the break. More precisely, they started July with a 3-4 mark before the break, and have a 1-9 record since regular season games resumed. That adds up to a 4-13 record in July. Their good start to the season back in April, is now officially spent.
If these Mets do not get something done, it won't get done. As I stated in a previous post, the Mets need for bullpen help in 2012, is the same need they will have in the 2013 season. The bullpen will be addressed regardless of the Mets standing this year. So I expect Sandy Alderson to be busy in that respect. But I do not see him doing much else.
This year's edition of Mets were meant to sink or swim. The 2012 season was meant to assess and judge. The keepers were to distinguish themselves from the potential trade chips. A core was supposed to start gravitating together, while the club's future rotation was in training down below. The General Manager no doubt started this season with questions. And by season's end, he will no doubt have some answers. Sandy Alderson's mission is, and always was, to get this team contending starting in the 2013 season. The only stick thrown into the spokes to this point, was the Mets played quite well in the first half, and altered many fan's expectations, and had others willing to go off course in pursuit of something we may no longer have any business chasing. Sandy Alderson certainly wasn't going to stop the Mets from contending in 2012, but I do not think he ever had a genuine plan to help them along in the way of acquisitions either. And truth be told, I'm on his side.
The General Manager will most likely use every last available minute over the next seven days to decide on....anything.